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Gay Canadian Boxer Mark Leduc Dies of Heat Stroke

A silver medallist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games, gay Canadian boxer Mark Leduc was found dead in a Toronto hotel sauna on Sunday, The Star reports:

Leduc "The former light welterweight boxer was expected to fail because he wasn't recognized like other "star" contenders were, said Leduc's brother-in-law, Mark Johnson. 'They thought he would be the worst (on the Canadian team), but he knew how to hit people and not get hit.' And blocking the hits was what the Canadian boxer would continue to do throughout his 47 years. Leduc died at St. Michael's Hospital Wednesday night after he was found unconscious in a local hotel sauna early Sunday morning, Johnson said, adding doctors believe Leduc suffered a heat stroke that damaged his internal organs. 'We were shattered, disoriented, almost in disbelief. We just kept waiting for a miracle to happen,' said Johnson, who had attended Leslie Street Public School with Leduc. 'He's much too young.' ... The Toronto native went pro shortly after his Olympic success and retired after winning the Canadian super lightweight championship in1993. Around that time, Leduc also came out of the closet and was an active advocate for the gay community, speaking out in gay-rights documentaries such as 1994's For the Love of the Game and volunteering for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation."

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  1. very sad... I knew him a little bit and while he was perhaps a bit troubled I admired him for having the courage to come out so many years ago.

    Posted by: Taylor | Jul 27, 2009 10:31:37 AM

  2. Wow, sad for his friends and family. How does someone get a heat stroke in a sauna? you fall asleep or something causes you to pass out or go unconscious?

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jul 27, 2009 10:31:53 AM

  3. Which Toronto hotel did he die in? None of the news reports mention a specific hotel, nor do they explain how a person can go unnoticed in a sauna long enough to actually die of heat stroke, and in a hotel no less. If a regular person died in a hotel sauna, that would be a big deal ... and the name of the hotel would be mentioned, believe me. Sounds fishy to me.

    Posted by: Freddy | Jul 27, 2009 10:37:36 AM

  4. I met Mark years ago. We spent a few hours playing pool at a long gone bar here in Toronto.

    I found him incredibly interesting, modest and funny.


    Posted by: Kevin | Jul 27, 2009 10:45:53 AM

  5. He will always be a personal hero, for me. His courage in coming out at a time when that was not fashionable made him a role model for many young gay people.
    A real life hero, no matter his personal demons.

    Posted by: Lars | Jul 27, 2009 11:05:09 AM

  6. wow. boxers are dropping like flies this month.

    Posted by: eric | Jul 27, 2009 11:13:57 AM

  7. Just to clarify a bit, he was found in the sauna on Sunday, unconscious but still alive, and died in the hospital on Wednesday.

    Posted by: Craig | Jul 27, 2009 11:39:42 AM

  8. so sad. RIP

    Posted by: ACe | Jul 27, 2009 5:48:38 PM

  9. Oh man. So long...slugger.

    Posted by: JoeTynan | Jul 27, 2009 6:14:21 PM

  10. I'm thinking it's pretty easy to die of heat stroke in a sauna. Not hydrated enough, you fall asleep, and that's all she wrote.

    Sad, but it doesn't sound fishy to me.

    Posted by: David R. | Jul 27, 2009 6:20:23 PM

  11. David R.- Yes, it's flukey and rare, but I've heard of other cases of accidental deaths like that, in both saunas and hot tubs (even without drugs or alcohol involved). Another reminder to be cautious.

    Posted by: JoeTynan | Jul 27, 2009 10:26:37 PM

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